Friday, August 29, 2008


We recently returned from our usual summer trip to see family in Hungary and Transylvania. Of course this year Miss Iza traveled with us. Traveling as a mom requires a packing strategy. Namely, minimalism. Extreme. I managed to pack for both of us in the space I previously used only for myself.

We carried one suitcase, blue, containing: clothes and toys and assorted for Biza and me for one month. I carried one pair brown capri pants, one pair black yoga pants, one skirt, and one (nursing) dress. I wore one pair black capri pants on the plane. I packed seven nursing shirts in a variety of colors and styles. One sweater. Enough undies, one bra, one pair socks. I wore one pair Gola flats and packed one pair sandals, semi-fancy. One small green bag of toiletries.

I did not pack any books. (Normally I take 6 - 8 novels and 4 -5 Hungarian language books, including Hungarian-English dictionary.) I did download three books to my iPhone, including Tess of the D'Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy and The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (99 cents each), both finished, both female protagonists killed off in the end; and the biography of Harry S. Truman by David McCullough ($11.99 through, still finishing--I'm up to his run for senate.

One nursing nightgown. One pair silver loop earrings. Vitamins, allergy medicine, baby Tylenol. Diaper cream, two tubes. Baby wipes, two packages. Six cloth diapers. One nursing cover, black and white print. Nursing pads, disposable. One package disposable changing pads, Sassy brand. Knot It, diaper bag dispenser, two, and refills.

Pampers, fifty-one. (More purchased in Romania.) Baby soap/shampoo. Baby wash clothes, 12, disposable. Bug repellent, organic and non-toxic, which we never used. Nasal aspirator and saline. Infant nail clippers and file. Baby sunscreen, two kinds, one for general coverage and one for sensitive areas (i.e. hands and face as she would likely consume a small quantity). Three baby hats. Three sleepers. Six onesies. Four baby pants. One baby sweat suit. One baby jacket. Six pairs baby socks. One cute summer baby outfit, pink.

Of note: We had access to laundry at Grandma's. Washer only. There was no dryer. So all items had to be line-dried and then ironed, a process that takes at least two and up to four days. On the up side: have you ever seen a pristine, white, ironed onesie? It is almost a shame to put it on the baby.

Slings: Five. Two Over-The-Shoulder-Baby-Holders, one small sized and one medium. I used the medium sized one on the overnight flight there for hands-free nursing and sleeping, and upon arrival to Transylvania on the overnight train from Budapest. One Zolowear ring sling in attractive black and white print for afternoon strolls when the heat abated. One Solerveil, SPF 70, turquoise, mesh ring-sling for walks in the afternoon sun, used almost daily. Baby Bjorn, one, brought in case Tata wanted to use it. Used once, by me. Tata wore Iza in the Solerveil, once.

Diaper bag, large, black, Skip Hop brand, designed for a double stroller. Perfect for international flight.

iPhone, one. Used as camera and for email (we had a wireless connection filched with permission from our neighbor) and reading.

Baptism grown, flouncy, worn by Miss Iza at her baptism. She was hot. She cried. She looked like a princess. She had two sets of godparents. We rejected Satan. And all his works. No one told me that my bra strap was showing. (Can we photoshop that?) We acquired a baptism certificate, which we left at the church. The priest brought it to us at the luncheon. There were sixteen guests. We left the certificate at the restaurant. With great understanding, the priest provided a third copy before we left. I didn't pack it in my suitcase, however.

Toys: Mr. Giraffe, The Whoozit, the Whatzit, 12 hooky ring things, a Whoozit teether, a butterfly teether, two blocks for the bathtub, Mr. Monkey.

We didn't pack our rocking chair. We survived. We didn't pack travel bed bumpers. I survived, barely. I slept with her at night and often during naps as well because I was afraid she would roll off the bed. She did not.

One infant car seat with sun cover. Four blankets of varying size and texture. One scarf used as toy.

I carried two packages of sanitizing wipes. These were used to swipe the armrests on the plane. (Except on the last leg from Amsterdam to Budapest, when she decided to quietly chew on the armrest as I napped.) They were used extensively in the couchettes for our two overnight train trips. The muck they "cleaned" was disconcerting.

Acquired: one gold Swarovski cross pendant, blessed by priest at baptism. Ms. pink elephant. Two chocolate salamis. One canister green tea from France, as a gift from guests from Hungary. Baby brush and comb. Two bibs. Two sets of godparents. A measure of confidence.

We have been to Budapest and to the heart of the summer Carpathians. Now getting myself out the door to spend an afternoon in the park seems much less daunting.


DJ said...

"we rejected satan."


T.L. Holmes said...

When my dream of becoming a mother comes to pass (much contemplation and discussion on the topic as of late), will you teach me this skill of packing for 2 in the space of 1? You are a champ! :)

Rikka said...

Oh, Isn't life with baby fun!?!?!

Glad you are doing well. Miss you!